Crazy World: Noodles made of ink, dye and wax

Ink, dye and wax used to make noodles


CHINA: The latest food scandal started to come to light on Thursday when more than 5.5 tons of starch noodles that were suspected of being tainted were confiscated and their producer was put under investigation for allegedly having used black ink, industrial dye and paraffin wax to produce them in Gangkou township in the province's Zhongshan city, according to Guangzhou Daily.

Workers from that company claimed that nearly 50 tons of apparently tainted starch noodles had been produced by the firm and had entered the market since it started business in February.

Workers said the unusual ingredients were used in an attempt to lower production costs and create fake noodles that appeared to be made of sweet potato, the report said.

Noodles made from sweet potato are more popular and therefore more expensive in stores.

The cost of producing the fake starch noodles was around 3,000 yuan (S$568) a ton while noodles made from real sweet potato will cost more than 5,000 yuan to make, the workers said.

Three executives from the company that was raided on Thursday, including the boss surnamed Luo, were detained by police.

They reportedly told investigators that they learned how to make the fake sweet potato noodles from counterparts in Dongguan.

Guangzhou Daily said the three executives told police that they got their additives and corn from the companies in Dongguan.

The claim led provincial quality authorities to send the teams to inspect the starch noodle producers in Dongguan, where they turned up evidence to support the claims.

70-year-old man has 305 country flag tattoos


NEPAL: An Indian businessman has been carrying the flags of 305 countries on his own body to promote amity among nations. Now 70-year-old Har Prakash, who has re-invented himself as Guinness Rishi, is vying in Nepal for his latest world record, hoping to add more flags and more records."People call me a joker, a mad man," says the world record aspirant from New Delhi who arrived in Kathmandu to attend the first international tattoo conference and promptly stole the limelight from other younger participants from different countries with more exotic tattoos.

"It doesn't bother me."

An auto parts manufacturer by profession, Guinness Rishi has two passions - tattoos and Guinness world records.

His 22 records include such singular feats as making the longest will in the world - a whopping 489 pages, delivering a pizza from New Delhi to San Francisco, and, of course, carrying the highest number of tattoos on his body.

These include 305 flags of different countries, 185 country maps, 165 mini flags and 2,985 characters.

"My dream is to go around the world several times," Har Prakash told IANS, sitting in the convention hall of the Yak and Yeti hotel while cameras click away furiously. "I want the children of those countries to ask me, where is the flag of our country, spot it and then, in the process, become aware of my country and other countries as well."

While he is talking, Carlos Peres, a Venezuelan tourist, comes looking for him. Peres saw Rishi's photograph in the papers and brought along his friend from Argentina so that both could hunt for their country's flags on the Indian's chest.

"There it is," the Argentine cries in glee and they shake hands with Rishi, inviting him to visit their countries.

For such a serious tattoo record holder, Guinness Rishi started quite late: it was in 2009 when he saw someone sporting country flag tattoos and admired the effect.

He pays a tribute to Lokesh Verma, the 27-year-old founder of Devilz Tattooz, who etched out seven tattoos on his forehead: the flags of India, the US, the UK, Cyprus, Canada, the Congress party and the Ripley's Believe It Or Not logo.

It took nine months and Verma did it free when he realised the patriotic reason behind it, Rishi says.

However, his family reacted in an entirely different manner.

"My wife and sons told me they would never go to the market with me or family weddings," he says, unrepentant. "But my customers loved the tattoos - because they got a chance to laugh at me."

Rishi is now seeking to add a new tattoo record: have the maximum number of tattoo artists work on him.

"The record is held by an American who in 1996 had 22 artists work on him," he says. "As a matter of fact, I did break the record in Pattaya last year when 25 artists etched 55 flags on me. But I was not familiar with the rules and forgot to make a video recording."

This time, he has come armed and is asking the 52 tattoo stalls put up for the Kathmandu conference to send one artist each to doodle on him further.

However, while his forehead, head, arms, legs and chest are covered with tattoos, his back remains pristine clear.

"I am saving that for a dream project," he says proudly. "It's going to be the Hall of Fame for World Record holding tattoo artists. I will have all their names and achievements tattooed on my back."

Different girlfriend, but men fail to notice


SINGAPORE: About seven in 10 Singaporeans failed an alertness experiment conducted under the guise of a photo-taking request in the Central Business District last month.

The test: To get an unsuspecting passer-by to take a photograph of a couple.

In between shots, while the guy pretends to examine the first image captured then asks for a retake - the woman switches place with another. The two women sported different hairstyles, outfits or were even of different races.

Still, 26 out of the 38 test subjects failed to notice the switch.

The results of the field study conducted by Singapore Management University (SMU) students were released last week at the Brand's Alertness Campaign press conference.

The study was based on a cognitive phenomenon called change blindness, which occurs when a person is not alert to the changes that happen in front of him. The SMU professor in charge of the project was not surprised by the number of people caught off guard.

Professor Luan Shenghua of SMU's School of Social Sciences said the results are consistent with those gathered in other parts of the world, such as the United States.

He said: "It's due to information-processing limitation. They were probably preoccupied with something they considered more important, like their jobs or family."

Project leader and SMU student Lim Chia Yeo, 23, said: "With other issues on their minds, people tend to not pay attention to trivial matters, such as in this case, when a stranger asks you to take a photo."

The entire process was filmed by famed local film director Eric Khoo.

He was initially worried that Singaporeans would not fall for the ruse.

Khoo, 44, said: "If there was a success rate of 10 per cent, I would have been happy. As time went by, I was pleasantly surprised."

When my paper asked the director if he would have noticed the change himself, he added: "Hard to say, probably not. I'll probably be one of the sotongs."

Man tries to rob shop with PlayStation controller, fails


FLORIDA: Cameron Pittman failed in his attempt to rob a shop with a PlayStation controller, not least because police officers walked into the convenience store in the middle of the fiasco.

Pittman was arrested by police in St Petersburg and charged with strong-arm robbery and violation of probation after trying to hold up staff in the Sunshine Foods outlet.

According to Bay 9 News, the 20-year-old hid the 'Sony Playstation remote control' (exact type unspecified; PlayStation Move shooting attachment, perhaps?) in his pocket and pretended it was a gun.

When police officers walked in and caught him in the act, he dropped his, err, weapon and yielded to them.

Mr Pittman was apparently a suspect in a previous robbery at a Subway restaurant in the same shopping plaza, hence the convenient arrival of the law (they'd received a nifty tip-off).

Allergic woman lives on Big Macs during pregnancy


BRITAIN: When Suzanne Franklin fell pregnant, she was at a loss as to how she would eat for two.

The 23-year-old had suffered from extreme food allergies for year from eggs to dairy and fruit and vegetables, reports Daily Mail.

Doctors warned her that pregnancy would make the symptoms worse but that antihistamines could harm her baby.

But Ms Franklin knew she wasn’t allergic to McDonald’s burgers - so she ate a Big Mac burger everyday throughout her pregnancy.

Any worries about her unusual diet affecting her baby’s growth were unfounded - as she has given birth to her own 10Ib 2oz whopper.

Miss Franklin told the paper: ‘All those burgers definitely didn’t do him any harm. It was the only thing I could eat safely during my pregnancy, so I just lived on them.

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